Valve to Support Multiple Set-Top Box Devices

Valve's "Steam Box" Project Piston at CES 2013 | Polygon

Valve’s “Steam Box” Project Piston at CES 2013 | Polygon

It appears that competition in the living room will continue to heat up, as gamer maker Valve reveals its plans to support multiple set-top box devices. The said device will be designed for playing games and streaming content.

Meet Valve’s “Steam Box” Gaming Hardware

During an in interview with The Verge at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013, Valve CEO Gabe Newell talked about the company’s plans for their forthcoming “Steam Box” gaming hardware. Aside from making their own Steam Box, the company will also work with third-party hardware makers to design their own devices.

Valve’s Steam Box will run the open-source Linux operating system, although users can install other OS like Microsoft Windows. It will also support services like Netflix, as well as used as a traditional PC to browse the Web. In addition, the Steam Box comes with a controller that the CEO said will have “higher precision and lower latency.”

In relation to this, Newell talked about controller methods and the use of multi-touch devices like Apple’s iPad for gaming. According to him, one of their company’s controller concept features a touchpad, although he wants to make sure that the component’s inclusion is “useful.”

We don’t want to waste people’s money by just throwing in a touchpad. Once we understand what the role is of multi-touch in these kind of applications, then it’s easy to say you can use your phone for it.

Moreover, Newell panned motion-controlled games that were popularized by Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect. He said that he’s “unconvinced” that they are the proper input methods. Additionally, he’s intrigued by biometrics and gaze tracking, which can detect input information that users are not necessarily aware of to enhance gameplay.

A Look at Project Piston

Because of various third-party hardware makers, it is expected that Steam Boxes will come in wide price range. It will also feature varying functions and horsepower options. Among those options is the Project Piston. It is a tiny game playing device that was shown off this week by hardware partner Xi3.

Valve’s forthcoming push in living room entertainment places it in an already crowded market. Among the options that aims to be part of a user’s entertainment center is the Apple TV. It is a $99 accessory that streams iTunes media and lets users play and mirror content from their iOS devices to their television set.

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